by Matt McDonald
When thinking about where to spend your money, do you consider your locally owned
businesses, or do you head straight to the nearest supercenter or chain restaurant? If shopping at
locally owned businesses, commonly referred to as “shopping small,” isn’t a priority, perhaps it
should be. There is a reason American Express’ Small Business Saturday, sandwiched between
Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is catching on; shopping small is valuable on several different
By shopping small, you help yourself. Aside from saving money, you surround yourself
with people who know what they’re selling. Small business owners frequently hire people based
on their expertise. So let’s say you’re looking for fishing gear. Employees at a local tackle shop
are more likely than workers at the sporting goods store in the mall to know which lures or flies
or bate work best in local rivers.
Most small business owners are personally invested in their stores. For example, some
consignment owners donate their own items to help grow the stock. Because they love their
business and their customers, they are going to do everything they can to make sure you’re
satisfied. They want you to come back. They want you tell your friends about their store. They
want to help.
By shopping small, you support the community. Roughly three times as much money
stays in the local economy when you shop with a locally owned business compared to a national
chain. None of your money stays local when you shop online. By supporting communities, you
contribute to the growth of new businesses, as well as local revenue. Also, preservation of local
businesses is vital to maintaining the character of a community. Plattsburgh is a perfect example;
without the intimate, red-brick downtown area, comprised mostly of small businesses, the city
would look like every other chain-driven consumer haven in the country.
By shopping small, you bolster local charities and non-profit organizations. On average,
these community groups receive 250% more support from small businesses than large ones. In
addition, you encourage small business owners to be actively involved in your city or town, from
sponsoring youth sports teams to contributing to community events. Your favorite local festival
or parade likely wouldn’t be possible without the support of local businesses.
By shopping small, you reduce environmental impact. Shopping online involves shipping
and packaging, while traffic congestion and pollution are common in big box shopping strips.
Apart from appealing to aesthetics, minimal congestion and sprawl mean a more efficient and
By shopping small, you connect with a network of businesses that support one another.
Imagine an afternoon of shopping that begins in a few local consignment shops: as you peruse
the racks, employees ask you how you’re doing. You tell them your plan to shop for an hour or
two, then look for a place to eat. Not only will they be able to tell you where to find the other
items you’re looking for, but they will also recommend coffee shops, delis, ice cream stands,
restaurants. Small businesses often collaborate to achieve a common goal; the more people who
walk the streets downtown, the more chances owners have to make sales.
So before you go about your typical routine, shopping and dining at chain stores and
restaurants, why don’t you explore the locally-owned businesses in your community? Chances
are, you’ll be pleased with what you find.
All the businesses and organizations on GoPlattsburgh.com are locally-owned businesses. Go to ‘Your Local Businesses’ to learn more.